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FAQs About Dojos, Weatherfishes Systems

Related Articles: Dojo Use in Ornamental Ponds, Loaches, A New Look At Loaches By Neale Monks,

Related FAQs:  Dojo/Weatherfishes 1, Dojos/Weatherfishes 2, & FAQs on: Dojos/Weatherfishes Identification, Dojos/Weatherfishes Behavior, Dojos/Weatherfishes Compatibility, Dojos/Weatherfishes Stocking/Selection, Dojos/Weatherfishes Feeding, Dojos/Weatherfishes Health, Dojos/Weatherfishes Reproduction, & Loaches 1, Clownloaches, & Loach Identification, Loach Behavior, Loach Compatibility, Loach Selection, Loach Systems, Loach Feeding, Loach Disease, Loach Reproduction,


Weather Loach Subtropical Stocking   12/21/17
Upon further consideration, I've decided to go with a subtropical tank to save energy.
<A good idea, plus opens up some opportunities for species that are rarely kept properly, so often not seen at their best; Scleromystax barbatus, for example, the wonderful Bearded Corydoras. Numerous barbs, minnows, catfish
and loaches can work, too.>
For sure, I want a school of weather loaches. What else could fit in a 40 gallon breeder with a small school of 3 or 4 weather loaches that would fare well at subtropical temperatures?
<Weather-loaches don't compete particularly well with other bottom feeders, but they're good alongside pretty much any midwater or surface swimming species. Cyprinids are good defaults, whether danionins, minnows, or if you
can get them, the wonderful Hillstream 'trouts', Barilius spp. Orfe, Roach, Tench and so on work well too, as do Goldfish, assuming the tank is big enough for them. The fast-swimming Goldfish such as Comets and Shubunkins
are the obvious picks here, rather than the clunky fancy, fantail-type things.>
I already have a good idea of what fish species do well at those temperatures due to your site's article on Subtropical fishkeeping, as well as a few others I've found on the web. I'm more concerned about how much room a school of weather loaches would leave in a tank of this size.
<How big's the school? A trio is fine, though obviously the more the merrier.>
In terms of other fish I'm interested in, there are several Danio species I'm considering, such as the Glowlight Danio (not those jellyfish-gene "Glofish", but Celestichtys choprae), the leopard Danio, the Bengal Danio and the pearl Danio.
<All can work, though the smaller species might be viewed as food. The Glowlight Danios are nice, yes, but they are very small. I've kept them, and I will observe that the males are pretty feisty, so if you go that route, keep a fair-sized school to dilute aggression. More than the usual six, I'd say, and more like 10+ specimens. Still, if you're keeping Weather Loaches, I'd look to the more medium sized Danio species as better fits; Bengal Danios would be perfect, enjoying the same coolish temperatures. I'd also look at the fabulous Rosy Barb, a terribly overlooked species with the
colours of a Goldfish, interesting sexual dimorphism (males are orangey-pink, females lemony-green). Variatus Platies are another good choice, very colourful and peaceful, and again, enjoy room temperature rather than tropical tanks, so often not seen at their best.>
I've also considered Florida Flagfish, Variatus platies and paradise fish as possible options,
<Yes, yes, and possibly. Paradisefish inhabit sluggish waters, such as ponds, so aren't ideal additions to tanks with strong water currents. That said, they're adaptable, and their aggressiveness has been a bit overstated in the past.>
though, based on my personal experience with other Anabantoids, I suspect even when paradise fish are kept in a group of 1 male and 2 or 3 females, aggression depends a great deal on individual temperament.
<Agreed, but does tend to be directed at their own kind; only rarely fish as dissimilar as loaches.>
I'll also say I'm fairly certain I don't want white cloud mountain minnows, not because of the fish themselves, but because around here pet stores rarely keep them in better conditions than so-called feeder goldfish.
Which is sad, but I don't want anything that was kept in those conditions in my tank.
<Understood. Can you get Rosy Minnows locally? They're surprisingly good aquarium fish, sometimes sold as feeders, but actually pretty little things well suited to unheated tanks. Quite a few North American fish could work well too, including Shiners and even the smaller Centrarchids (though these are extremely predatory by aquarium fish standards, to only with tankmates of similar size). Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Weather Loach Subtropical Stocking   12/21/17

Are any of the Barilius species even small enough for a 40 breeder?
<40 US gallons is 33 UK gallons, so no, not big enough for adults. You'd want a tank at least 120 cm/4 ft in length. Depth relatively unimportant.>
The species profiles I've seen for them indicate that while only 4 or 5 inches long, they're active enough that they need a considerably larger tank.
I was planning on a school of 3 or 4 weather loaches. Would there be room in my forty gallon breeder for those, plus a school of either one of the more medium-sized Danio species or those rosy red minnows and maybe a breeding group of Variatus platies?
<Rosy Barbs are much less demanding, and would be find in a 40 US gallon system. They are intensely social though, and like all barbs should be kept in decent numbers. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Weather Loach Subtropical Stocking     12/22/17

I may have phrased that last question poorly.
<Or maybe I'm just plain dumb.>
I was asking whether a group of 3 or 4 loaches would be good with a school of Danios or minnows and maybe some platies in the 40 breeder, or if that would be overcrowded.
<3-4 Weather Loaches, plus a school of Danios, would work out just fine in 40 US gallons. The Platies require slightly more thought, not because they're a problem, but it's possible the bigger danionins, such as Giant Danios would be too aggressive at feeding time. The smaller Danio species, as well as Minnows, should be fine with Platies.>
I wasn't asking about the Barilius, which I doubt I could find for sale locally even if I did have a big enough tank.
<Ah, understood. They are seasonal, being wild-caught, and only the high-end shops seem to get them, at least in the UK. The larger Danio and Devario species are much easier to use/substitute.>
As far as rosy barbs go, just today, I saw something called a 'neon rosy barb' for sale. Out of curiosity, are those just a color morph of the regular rosy barb, or a separate species?
<I do believe Neon Rosy Barbs are merely an artificially produced strain of the Rosy Barb species. A lovely species overall, but slightly nippy, so do be careful, and keep them well fed and in large groups. Should be fine with
Weather Loaches though. There's another Barb species I didn't mention, Barbodes semifasciolatus, sold as either an artificial "Golden Barb" or a greenish-pink wild-type fish. Nice fish, peaceful, colourful, and not too big (2.5 inches, tops). The golden form looks like a mini Goldfish! It's active, highly sociable, and generally not too nippy, so again, a good choice for life with loaches and Danios. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Weather Loach Subtropical Stocking    12/23/17

Thanks! Those Barbodes semifasciolatus are quite beautiful, though I think the wild-type looks prettier than the golden form.
<So do I. Incidentally, since they're the same species, you can mix 'em.>
If I eliminated the platies, could I keep the loaches plus a school each of one Danio species and the Barbodes semifasciolatus?
<Sounds great. Barbs and Danios generally mix well. Just keep decent numbers of both. Going for an East Asian biotope, riverine-sort-of-look might work nicely here. Water worn cobbles, open sand, some smooth bogwood
bits, and plants such as Ceratophyllum and Vallisneria around the edges for greenery. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Weather Loach Subtropical Stocking    12/23/17

Again, thanks. How many gallons per hour filtration would you recommend for this setup?
<I'd be looking at around 8-10 times the volume of the tank per hour, which is about right for active fish that appreciate moderate currents. So for 40 US gallons, 8 x 40 = 320 gallons per hour, so look for a filter (or two
filters, combined) that offer that sort of turnover rate. A little less isn't a deal breaker, but I wouldn't go below 6 times the volume of the tank. A little more would be no problem either, and it quite easy to turn the flow rate down (or diffuse it with a spray-bar) if the fish seem overwhelmed. You often find as a filter 'clogs up' with dirt the flow rate drops dramatically anyway. Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish and dojo loaches; fdg. and sys.     6/3/17
Hello again,
<Hi there>
You guys were so helpful with my dwarf frogs, I thought I'd reach out and get the best advice on my goldfish and dojo loach tank. I currently have two small baby fantail goldfish and three small dojo loaches (two gold and one natural) in a 20 gallon long, but of course I'm looking for a big upgrade currently which should be done within a week or two as I'm aware that these guys get big.
<Ah, good>
I have two questions, first, how can I ensure my loaches are getting fed properly and enough?
<Just a cursory look/see at their "index of fitness"; roundish-contoured profile>

The goldfish seem to gobble everything up in seconds, and I don't see much left in the gravel bed.
Also, what substrate will be best for both of these fish to live happily?
<Something larger, flatter in the way of natural gravel... 3/8-1/4" D>

I have a deep sand substrate in my 55 gallon and would like to do something similar for the loaches, but worry about the goldfish ingesting sand and becoming impacted.
<You are wise here>
Speaking of deep sand substrates, (This is a very new arrangement for me) I've got lots of real plants, 5 young angelfish, four Cory cats, two Bristlenose Plecos, one dwarf Gourami, and one golden wonder killifish, with a few Nerite snails and ghost shrimp. I've read that the sand should be stirred to prevent pockets of harmful bacteria, but how can I do that without disturbing the roots?
<Best to gingerly vacuum about the areas outside of the plants weekly; perhaps doing one side of the tank at a time. Going forward, even better to "blind pot" the planted areas>
I'm using CaribSea sunset gold, which is pretty fine, would it compact too much for plant roots?
<Not too compact>
Sorry for the long list of questions, I'm quite new to this hobby. Thank you in advance for your consideration.
<A pleasure to share with you, conspire in your success. Bob Fenner>
Re: Goldfish and dojo loaches      6/3/17

Thank you for setting my mind at ease.
When I did the change in my 55 gallon (just yesterday, tank was established for 3-4 months with coarse black gravel) my striped angelfish (young superveil) seems to have dimmed his stripes considerably, as has my glitter angelfish. I'm thinking this is stress related. I tried to preserve my biological media by floating with my live plants in a bucket of aquarium water, and all fish were moved to a holding tank, nonetheless, I know the change was very stressful on everyone. I kept lights off the rest of the day (also night since it was late when I finished) and tested everything before re-adding my fish.
<Good moves>
I used Prime since I could only re-use about 20 gallons of old water. My lights have been off most of today as well, but they seem stressed still.
Is there anything else I can do to help them recover from such trauma?
<Mmm; just time going by really>
I also planned on small water changes daily as I got a very slight reading of ammonia, really just a barely yellow tint to the test tube, only noticeable against a pure white windowsill in the sun. Nitrites were 0. I've got a young rescued angel who had his fins chewed off at the pet store, I didn't think he'd survive at all but his fins have really grown in nicely and I'm super attached to him now, really can't stand to lose him. Thanks again!
Sorry to be a bother.
<Never a bother. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Goldfish and dojo loaches      6/3/17

Should I stir my deep (3 inch) sand? /if so, how often?
<I would use a gravel vacuum.... see the Net re or I can send a link>
And is it safe to not stir near plant roots?
<Already answered; yes. B>
Re: Goldfish and dojo loaches      6/3/17

Thank you, I missed that part of your answer somehow.
<Ahh; no worries. BobF>

Using liquid fertilizers with dojo loaches     8/15/14
I have a question. I have a 20 gallon long tank and have had my two golden Dojos for a long time. One for two years, one for one year. I recently decided to change my tank to be planted from the ugly plastic stuff I had before! :) As I go along, I continue learning about things I need to be doing.
<Ah yes!>
I have a fairly heavily planted tank. I was considering using Seachem Flourish Comprehensive fertilizer for my plants and wanted to know if this will hurt my loaches.
<It will not. This, indeed all SeaChem's products are safe to use>

I know they are very fragile in terms of being scaleless and I don't want to do anything that will harm them.
At the same time, I have a question about filtration in a planted tank.
Right now I have two HOB Aqueon filters, one 20 and one 10. I have no carbon, only foam and BioMax ceramic rings for biological filtration. The more I read, I have found that, for planted tanks, less filtration is better. I was considering removing the Aqueon 10 and just having the 20 on there. Thoughts?
<I like redundancy in filtration, circulation.... Would leave both on here>
Thanks so much!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Weather loaches and Indian almond leaves       12/21/15
Hi again,
I was wondering if weather loaches might benefit from having some Indian almond leaves in their tank?
<They will be completely indifferent. Add them if you want, or for that matter Beech leaves collected from somewhere unpolluted, as you prefer/can afford.>
I realize they leach tannins and make the water slightly acidic but from what I have read about their origins, weather loaches seem to like slow moving areas where you might find a lot of leaf litter.
Plus, would the leeching from the leaves benefit them in any way?
<Nothing profound. Fine lime-free sand would be immeasurably more useful if you want to create a perfect habitat for them. They're expert burrowers and love to dig into the sand. If you've got gravel, a bunch of leaves won't dramatically change things for the better. Cheers, Neale.>

Dojo loach; pond use/sys.    8/22/14
Hello! Recently I have put my golden dojo loach in my outdoor pond and he seems to be thriving! However, as fall approaches I am getting concerned about if he can survive the winter.
<Does the water stay (get no colder than) the 50's F.? If not, I'd move back into (at least a filtered aquarium) in the garage during winter>
My pond is divided up into three connecting ponds via very small waterfalls. The third pond is the largest and deepest and houses many goldfish and koi. I put my loach in the middle pond with is about 2 feet
deep. I have discovered that he can move between the two lower ponds as he pleases and hope that he will chooses the bigger pond to winter in because its 3 feet deep. My pond freezes at the surfaces every winter despite the constant water flow.
<Oh; this is likely way too cold>
The goldfish and koi have survived every winter just fine, but my loach has lived in my aquarium all it's life. I can catch him and return him to my aquarium if I need to but he wasn't doing well in there which is why I moved him outside to a more natural environment. In the tank he was acting strangely, always propping himself up on plants near the surface and never hiding. My other loach was also becoming deformed with strange curves in his body.
<Common that these fish develop such...>
He has since died. So is it a good idea to leave him outside all winter, or try to bring him in?
<Up to you; but I'd bring into the garage as stated>
If he can't stay out in the winter then I don't want to leave him in the pond at all because finding a small fish in a big pond and catching it is not easy.
<Ah, yes. Understood. Bob Fenner; who encourages you to read on WWM re...
including a piece I penned many years ago urging folks to (over) winter their Weatherfish (way back when there were no flavistic varieties) in ponds>

Weather Loan <loach> biotope  5/6/11
I have made a mistake of attempting to keep a weather loan (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus) with 4 dwarf puffers, even though I was not advised to do so. At first puffers didn't bother the loach (he is about 5 inches, they are less than inch each) but within few weeks male started picking on him and driving the loach to hide and come out to eat only at night when puffers are asleep.
So I traded in the puffers and now hoping to establish a 20 gallon long tank ( 30 inches) or a 30 gallon long (36 inches) around this loach, particularly as a biotope.
Which is a problem, because even though in my home country weather loaches are extremely common I never saw them in what I would call "natural" environment. I grew up seeing this whiskery fish in dirty ditches, swamps, inner-city ponds and even large puddles after strong rain. I doubt loaches in the wild enjoy tank bottom of concrete and dirt and therefore need an advise on what would be a suitable biotope for a Misgurnus?
What would be good plants? (right now tank has Anubis, but that will be soon moved to another tank, and not suitable for Asian biotope anyhow) What would be good tankmates? How many loaches can I keep in 20 gallons? Would addition of Betta (male or female) be a good idea? Corydoras catfish?
Smaller variety of goldfish? Paradise Fish? Gourami? Lalia?
<Hello Elena. Weather Loaches naturally come from streams where the substrate is sandy (smooth silica sand, such as play sand and pool filter sand) are typical. They will often bury themselves into this, with only their head exposed above the sand. So an aquarium "ideal" for Weather Loaches would have sand, smooth rocks arranged to make some caves and other hiding places, and a few plants around the edges. Use sturdy plants that won't be uprooted. Biotope plants would include things like Vallisneria and Potamogeton that will do well in, or prefer, unheated to subtropical aquaria (18 C is the ideal temperature). Tankmates would need to be species that enjoy similar water temperatures and don't mind a fairly open aquarium. Good candidates include Minnows of all kinds (such as White Cloud Mountain Minnows) and Bitterlings. If you can get them, fish such as Crucian Carp and Tench. All these come from Eurasia so are more less similar to what Weather Loaches live with in the wild. Standard (i.e., non-fancy) Goldfish also work well, but Goldfish are messy, and Loaches like to dig, and the combination can be a very dirty aquarium! So if you keep Loaches with Goldfish, they'll need a big aquarium and a strong filter. Above all else, Weather Loaches enjoy the company of their own kind, so keep at least two specimens for the most fun. If you want to go with non-Eurasian tankmates, then anything that also enjoys Subtropical conditions should do okay. Obvious options would be Scleromystax barbatus (also known as Corydoras barbatus, the big and beautiful "Bearded Corydoras"); the commonly Peppered Corydoras, Corydoras paleatus; the subtropical cichlid Cichlasoma portalegrense; and possibly Cave Tetras and Ameca splendens, though both of these can be a little nippy, though nothing like as bad as Dwarf Puffers. Paradisefish can work, but Paradisefish dislike strongly flowing water and need lots of plants, so they're not ideal companions. They're also aggressive bullies that mix poorly with other fish. At 22 C you might add some low-end tropical species to the mix such as Danios, Neon Tetras, Platies and Swordtails. Bettas and other high-end tropical fish that need 25 C or higher won't work in the long term. Cheers, Neale.>

Opps I forgot... Rocks, Dojo sys.    7/30/09
I am terribly sorry to bother you again, I asked some questions earlier but forgot to ask? If you see no problem in my keeping the dojo with some new dojo tank mates will lava rocks be to abrasive and give them some nasty scratches?
<Lava rock is abrasive and, despite the marketing, it does seem to affect water chemistry. At the very least it gives the water a red tint over time, and some aquarists have found that it slightly acidifies the water as well.
I'm not wild about using lava rock in tanks with smooth-skinned fish such as loaches, eels, pufferfish, etc. Visit your local garden centre and pick up some "pond safe" rocks such as slate and granite. Cobbles are great for a water-worn stream bed look, while craggy granite chunks are good for taller, three-dimensional mountains of rock. Cheers, Neale.>

Weather Loach, beh., sys., including goldfish  -- 04/07/09
Looking for your advise please.
<And advice>
Sometime ago, I adopted a friends fish as she was moving overseas. They were added to my tank. There were 2 goldfish and 1 weather loach. I already had shubunkin and a goldfish. At the time, I did not know what the weather loach was, as my friend was told it was a Plec (I knew it wasn't, as I have had these
before).I went into my local fish (expert), with a photograph, and he advised me it was a weather loach. He also advised me to buy another one, as they live better in pairs. I did this.
One of the loach is now swimming upside down(while turning, looks like somersaults), and when resting, laying upside down.
<Mmm, well... some of this is natural>
After reading information about them, I understand erratic swimming can be normal, but this sort of
behaviour is not normal for him.
<Yes... considered to be "living barometers"... Changes in air pressure seem to trigger this sort of movements>
I am concerned he is unwell, as he seems to be resting more than usual. All the other fish are doing well, and displaying no problems.
My tank is only 2ft*1ft*1ft I believe this is (12g(U.K)),
<Oooh, way too small for this many goldfishes>
and after reading many articles on the internet, I am led to believe this is too small for weather loach.
<This loach can be crowded... is a facultative aerial respirator and quite tolerant to metabolite accumulation, but yes... All need more volume>
Unfortunately, I cannot accommodate a tank any bigger. do I need to find another home for my weather loach, or can they live in tanks this small??
Many Thanks
<I'd be doing a bit more reading. Here to start:
and the linked files above... Perhaps looking into trading some of the goldfish out, now... at least investing in test kits and their use, along with regular water changing... Bob Fenner>

Golden Dojo in a pond Hi, <Hello> I'm a little confused about the difference (as far as temperature) between the Spotted Dojo and the Golden Dojo. On your site it says "The Spotted Dojo or Weatherfish is less tolerant to temperature change and range", so that would mean that the Golden Dojo is MORE tolerant of temperature change and range? <No, though Misgurnis anguillicaudata is both the common and the xanthic variety of Dojo or Weatherfish, the "normal" condition seems to be hardier> My thinking is more used to goldfish, so I would think the fancier the fish the less hardy they are. <You are correct> So I'm guessing it's just a typo. <The Spotted Dojo is another species... Cobitis taenia I believe> I just want to be prepared so that when I go to get a couple Dojos if they happen to have a Golden one I would like to get that for visibility. Also, I was wondering how many would be good. I have a 1000 gallon pond with 18 fish (comets, shubunkins, fantails, and a Sarasa) with 3 small koi about to join them. I would definitely want to get at least 2, at most 4, but would 4 be too much? <Not too many> I'm also a little worried about them getting out of the pond. I've read that they have a tendency to jump out of aquariums and sometimes crawl on the floor. <Not really a common problem in ponds> Any other tips for Dojos in ponds would be appreciated. Thanks, Mike <Bob Fenner>

Looking for a Dojo Loach
I was considering a Dojo Loach (possibly gold) for a 29g and have seen some widely ranging information on these in regards to their size.  I have seen postings stating their max aquarium size anywhere from 15cm upwards of 20inches.  In a "typical" aquarium what size should I expect one of these to grow, and would it outgrow a 29g and if so in how long? < Generally Dojo's are bottom loving catfish that spend all their time sifting through fine sand for something to eat. Fine well rounded sand is best because coarse materials will be abrasive to the mouth and eyes. Go to planetcatfish.com and see all the Dojo's that are out there. Many species are referred to as Dojo's. Most in the hobby only get around 8 inches while the gold variety is smaller around 4 inches.> Also I have read that they like to burrow and bury themselves.  I am concerned about this as I have a crushed coral substrate which would not be good.  I read they like sandy bottoms which would go with the burrowing.  I do have lots of cover and live plants so at least the layout should be acceptable. < Fine sand is the only way to go or else you will become an expert in wound control.-Chuck> Patrick

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